year of birth : 1377 | place of birth : Uttarpradesh, INDIA
parents : Mata Kalsa Devi, Baba Santokh Das | children : Vijaydas
nationality : Indian | occupation : North Indian Guru mystic of the bhakti movement who was active in the 15th century CE
spouse : Mata Lona Devi
websites : www.gururavidassguruji.com
Ravidass also Rohidas, Ruhidas in eastern India and Bhagat Ravidas in Sikhism was a North Indian Guru mystic of the bhakti movement who was active in the 15th century CE. Venerated in the region of Uttar Pradesh as well as the Indian state of Maharashtra, his devotional songs and verses made a lasting impact upon the bhakti movement. He is often given the honorific Guru. He was a socio-religious reformer, a thinker, a theosophist, a humanist, a poet, a traveler, a pacifist and a spiritual figure before whom even head-priests of Benaras lay prostrate to pay homage.
Guru Ravidass was a shoemaker of the Kutbandhla Chamar caste. His devotional songs were included in the Sikh holy book. There is also a larger body of hymns passed on independently that is claimed and attributed to Guru Ravidass. Guru Ravidass was subversive in that his devotionalism implied a levelling of the social divisions of caste and gender, yet ecumenical in that it tended to promote crossing of sectarian divides in the name of a higher spiritual unity.
Guru Ravidass taught that one is distinguished not by one's caste (jāti) but by one's actions (karma) and that every person has the right to worship God and read holy texts. He opened a frontal attack against the system of untouchability. He rejected the tradition of Brahmin mediator to reach the Supreme Being. He also said that one need not to hide his caste or leave his low profession to reach God. He became a model for his fellow beings to overcome the hierarchical barriers of Brahminical social order and to establish Begumpura - a state without fear and sorrows. Guru Ravidass elevated the status of the labour by emphasizing on the fact that honest labour is empowering.
Details of the life of Guru Ravidass are controversial. Schaller estimates 15th-16th century CE. Partly this is due to traditions that make him, the guru of Meera. Guru Ravidass' origin and parents are also given differently. His father Baba Santokh Das was a Chamar leather merchant and Mata Kalsa Devi was his mother. Guru Ravidass' father married him to Mata Lona Devi at early age and according to the Ravidas Purana he had a son named Vijaydas. A region between Allahabad and Benares is named after him.
The queen of Chittorgarh is said to have been a disciple (this may be connected with Meera, who was married to the ruler of Chittorgarh). It is said that the conservative Brahmins of Kashi could not stand the popularity of this "untouchable Guru". Meera Bai considered Guru Ravidass Ji as her spiritual Guru. Meera was a queen of Chittor and a daughter of the king of Rajasthan and she used to follow the teachings of Guru Ravidass which teaches about that one's fate of the future lies on his karmas (doings) rather than on his caste or creed's.